It’s always troubled me when a club of Arsenal’s stature allow an obvious talent to slip through their fingers, but the North London club have had plenty of practice either through negligence or to fund incoming transfers. Serge Gnabry is one talent that easily comes to mind and had Folarin Balogun (19) been allowed to leave, it would have been a similar loss.
Rumours are that Edu and Per Mertesacker have had meetings to prevent the youngster from heading away from the Emirates. It’s no secret that BFG is a huge admirer of the American, who scored 10 goals in 15 games for the under 23’s last season and accordingly to popular bookies like Betway, Balogun is still odds on favourite to leave on a free transfer once this season concludes.
Chris Wilder recently offered £3m to take him to Sheffield United, but Arsenal declined the bid immediately. Championship club Brentford were also interested in picking up the athletic, natural finisher but the negotiations for a £5m fee came to an abrupt halt.
If this rumour is true, it’s entirely welcome but Balogun’s good fortune could mean an exit elsewhere for an academy prospect. Martinelli, Nketiah, and Balogun will be the main trio to emerge and progress to the first team. The others behind them may find it extremely difficult to jump the queue especially once Martinelli has recovered from injury. Plus with Arteta making quite an impact in the early stages of the season, Arsenal have increasingly become better placed to secure a top four spot this season and Balogun might just place a part off the bench in that.
With recent performances, Brands like Betway have started offering distinctly better odds on Arsenal securing a coveted Champions League spot this season for which their striking depth in their squad will be extremely crucial. Martinelli, Nketiah, and Balogun will all be extremely vital if Arsenal intend to fully compete in four competitions this season.
What has helped sway people towards this rumour is the fact that Balogun has increasingly become more involved in first team training over the past month. This notable change of late, has seen Balogun having trained with Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad twice during the past couple of weeks, having previously been left out of involvement with the senior side altogether. With possibilities now arising of him being involved in the Europa League and FA cup competitions as one of the young players who can be named as substitutes in the team.
Folarin Balogun has every chance of establishing himself within the next 4 or 5 seasons. The striker has excellent balance, vision, and poise. He’s a competitor but he’s also agile, aggressive, and quick, which made the thought of his departure even harder to swallow.
Fingers crossed, this rumour has some foundation. It would be more evidence of Arteta and Edu Gasper’s ability to hold on to their best talent with their joint persuasive powers and vision.